Tags: Oil | Gold | US | Dollar

Oil, Gold Retreat as US Dollar Gains

Monday, 13 May 2013 05:40 PM


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Oil prices dropped their most in two weeks on Monday on data pointing to lighter U.S. and China energy demand, and gold slipped, too, as stronger U.S. retail sales boosted risk appetite among some investors that dulled the metal's safe-haven lure.

The dollar's rally for a third consecutive session weighed on demand for dollar-denominated raw materials among holders of other currencies. The dollar surged to its highest level against the yen since 2008 and rose against the euro as well.

"The strength in the dollar has taken the wind out of" energy and commodity markets, said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Even so, the 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, ended steady after a run-up in a few markets, including copper and corn.

Ten of the CRB's 19 components fell by up to 1 percent each and four of its top gainers, including corn and copper, rose by about 2 percent or more.

Crude oil prices settled lower after a choppy day of trading, hit by slowing oil demand in China and data showing the biggest drop for U.S. retail gasoline sales in over four years.

Analysts said positive U.S. retail sales data supported the idea that the U.S. economy was continuing to recover. But it did not apply to gasoline sales, underscoring ailing demand for the fuel. The U.S. retail data also strengthened the dollar, hurting oil prices.

Data showed refinery crude throughput in China, the world's second-largest consumer, fell 3 percent in April from March, its lowest daily rate since last September, as refineries entered maintenance season. Implied oil demand was up 3.2 percent in April from a year earlier to about 9.6 million barrels per day, the lowest in eight months.

"The economic data in China is not yet providing upward support. It is not that it is weak, it is simply not sufficient to support a bullish trend," Harry Tchilingurian, head of commodity market strategy at BNP Paribas, said.

The benchmark Brent crude oil out of Europe's North Sea settled down $1.09 per barrel at $102.82, its biggest loss since May 1. U.S. crude in New York ended the day 87 cents lower at $95.17 a barrel.

Gold fell for a third straight session, hovering near its lowest price in nearly two weeks as stronger the U.S. retail sales data inspired economic hopes and reduced the safe-haven bid for gold.

The spot price of bullion dropped 1.3 percent to below $1,430 an ounce by 4:57 p.m. EDT (2057 GMT). Earlier in the session, it hit a low of $1,426.40, near a two-week low of $1,420.

Corn surged more than 3 percent in Chicago futures trading, its biggest gain since the end of April, on concern that another round of showers this week would stall planting in the U.S. Midwest, where growers were already scrambling to catch up on field work for corn delayed by a cool, wet spring. Firm cash markets also supported corn futures.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade, July, settled up 19-1/4 cents at $6.55-1/2 per bushel.

Copper edged higher as weak Chinese factory data for April raised expectations that the top metals consumer may embark on further monetary easing that could underpin demand for metals.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $7,415 a tonne on Monday, up from a close of $7,375 on Friday. It rose nearly 2 percent last week and hit $7,480 last Wednesday, its highest in nearly a month.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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